It appears to me that modernization in some parts of the inner city of Georgetown in these years has caused the gradual degradation of the beautiful heritage buildings in Penang. Being a Penang boy, it is hard for me not to feel the changes to street scenes of Georgetown since young. Fortunately, heritage conservation efforts have been buffed up since Penang received UNESCO’s recognition as World Heritage alongside Malacca. However, there is still much to do to raise the awareness of pre-war buildings owners in preserving these buildings. Penang food must also be preserved to ensure that the food culture in Penang does not fade away with the passage of time. It concerns me that some famous old restaurants in Penang have had to face the possibility of discontinuation due to lack of commitment from the younger generation.

However, with the joint efforts of Penang heritage conservationists and food lovers, Penang can appear as a modern city without having to lose its heritage and traditions.

Living Penang heritage……..thou shalt never fade away


CNY decorations at the interior of the restaurant

A customer’s gift

This masterpiece is made by a Japanese customer and given to Ah Hong before she left.

With the recognition given by UNESCO to Georgetown and Malacca as World Heritage Sites, pre-war buildings are now world assets, eager to tell the hidden tales of old Penang. They have been town landmarks long before the award of the title. While heritage buildings protection is important, no doubt, it is important that other cultural aspects inherent to this heritage city not be forgotten. The prestigious award shall be the motivation or pushing factor for the people to appreciate and preserve the diverse cultures and practices in this former British colony. Food culture is one of them.

Food culture in Penang is a complex and unique one. Just look at the variety of Indian, Malay, Nyonya and Chinese food available in Penang today. Although they are still easily reachable nowadays, the possibility of these kinds of food or delicacies disappearing in near future exists due to many instances of closure. Quite a number of old coffeeshops and restaurants have had to close shop due to the lack of will among the young to take over. It is important for us to preserve these old ‘kopitiams’ as they are a significant part of Penang identity.

All in all, local food should be preserved and promoted so that we do not lose such a beautiful heritage that we Penangites share and cherish.

乔治市和马六甲市被公认为世界文化遗产之际,战前建筑便是不容置疑的城市地标。 无可否认,保护遗产建筑是很重要的,但遗产城市的其他文化都必须得到保留。 这需要人民来推动,保护这个岛屿的多元文化。吃的文化就是一种。

槟城的食物文化是相当复杂和独特一个。 且看印度、马来、娘惹和华人食物品的种类,非常多样化。虽然这些食物还容易吃得到,但是这些食物面对绝种的可能性是不可删除的。到目前为止已有不少老字号倒闭,其中一个原因可能是青黄不接的现象。它对乔治市的文化遗产作出了重要的影响。 当然,我们必须不仅看吃文化为世界遗产的需求,也应该看食物文化为槟城人的身份象征。